Jeff J Hunter, CEO and founder of Savage Marketers and VA Staffer walks us through the virtual assistant hiring process and options.
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Here are some questions that the video had covered:
00:15 What is it that you actually do and how do you generate revenue for VA Staffer?
00:40 How VA Staffer program work?
03:17 What’s your current avatar?
04:50 What’s the business structure for VA Staffer?
12:22 What does the training process look like on your end?
13:50 What is your recruiting process look like?
20:55 What’s the one tip that you can give to any business that is looking to outsource?
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What’s going on everybody. We have Jeff J. Hunter from VA Staffer and Savage marker all the way from California. Jeff, what is it that you actually do and how do you generate revenue for VA staffer?
Well I am a, I guess, a virtual team builder. That’s the majority of what I do. I’m good at building virtual teams. I used to work at a fortune 500 company building virtual teams for them. And then I kind of went and spread my own entrepreneurial wings back in 2013, 2014. And now I have almost a hundred people all over the world, 100% remote. Wow.
Now let me ask you a question. Let’s break that down a little bit so the audience can understand. So if I, the company and I want to go out and hire a remote team, I come to you and you build that entire team for me. Do you recruit also all of the people as well? Do you train them? How deep do you go into that cycle?
Well, we’ve all been told this beautiful. I don’t want to call it a lie, but I’ll just say it’s an over-exaggeration from Tim Ferris that a, the four hour work week and a really interesting piece about that is, you know, they tell you to go on Upwork and fiber and these other places to hire people online jobs, and don’t get me wrong. You can find talent there, but if you know anything about the real world of recruitment, you have to actually actively find people that have vertical skillsets. So for example, a lot of what we do is we supply executive assistants. So people that go into companies that help take many meeting minutes, set agendas you know, like follow up with things, send emails out appointments setting. What I do is I go out and we actually recruit from top companies like Google, Microsoft, you know Shopify.
And we’ve, we find really great talent. I love, I love call carriers. Like T-Mobile, you know, we have a lot of people that worked at a call center for these cell phone companies. They’ve already have proven skill sets. So what we do is we actually find people that already have a proven skillset that have at least a two year tenure, and we build dedicated teams to help support the growth. See the thing that’s really missing in the marketplace. And I think why we’ve been able to grow so fast. Chad is because most of these online marketplaces, they help you find freelancers and freelancers suck. You can’t rely on them. Exactly. Exactly. You, you need somebody who’s reliable. You need, you need people that are reliable to help you scale you. If you, if someone’s just running from client to client, they’re not going to be able to support you the way you need to grow.
What year did you actually start the company? How long have you been doing this?
It was a hobby idea back in 2013, and I fully left my full-time six figure day job as a fortune 500 project manager, February 29th, day of 2016,
- Okay. So let’s call it 2016. So been around for about five years doing this full-time for the most part. And what what’s, what’s your current avatar like? Who’s the perfect company that you like working with? Is it agents, is it executives talking about who that is?
We have two kind of avatars. One of them is like the entrepreneur who came up with this crazy idea and usually service-based business that they can’t keep up with. The growth. Latasha is a great example. One of my clients who she’s only been with working with us now for two months, but she has a PR agency that helps people do JVs. Like she, she basically does joint venture projects with people and it was just a one man band. You know, she was doing everything herself and she has a lot of business, you know, she’s, she’s doing really, really well and she can’t keep up, but it’s really hard for her to find someone to support her growth. It’s not like you could just go out and, you know, start an office anymore. It’s with COVID-19 it’s been a little bit weird. So we paired her up with an executive assistant to help her manage growth. Now that’s, that’s one area. The other piece is I love working with technology companies. Like I just got off a phone call, like nation’s, lending’s a client of ours. Can bosso.com, SAS companies that have really fast paced growing companies. And they have like marketing directors or sales directors or, or whatever. And those are usually super productive positions that have a lot of demand. That’s hard to keep up on. So just having like a dedicated assistant to help them do the day-to-day stuff is really important. So that’s kinda my two demographics.
Let me, let me ask you a quick question. So I think so I can understand, and also for the audience as well. So you go out and let’s say I on our dashboards, right? I go out, I’m like Jeff, I want to hire five project managers just for the hell sake. Okay. I want to five hire five project managers. You go out and you find me in qualify those project managers. I hire them. They’re now on my payroll. Do I, do I, am I done with you? Or are you like physically managing those people? Are you working with them or is this just like a one sentence?
That’s the funny part. See, a lot of people we used to do that. We used to be a matchmaking service, but the problem is most entrepreneurs, most businesses that are in growth phase, they don’t have the time or resources to manage. And they don’t know how financially there’s a lot of rules and implement input implications that have to have to be thought about when you have a full-time hire. Right? a lot of companies it’s cheaper and more effective to hire a third party, which is what I am. So they would hire me as a contractor, right? So we do the hiring, we do the recruiting, we do the training, we do the managing, we do the KPIs. We do the [inaudible] with the company you’re working. So they are working under the VA staffer umbrella, and then our clients pay a set fee and what we do.
And I think the reasons why we’ve been able to grow so fast is because we have a very simple pay structure. We have a very simple it’s either $700 a month for a part-time and $1,300 full-time now obviously people saying, Oh my God, how all of our team, the majority I’d say 80, 90% of our team are in the Philippines. So going to get to, we can go to a call center. I know what they pay. I know what they pay over there. And my strategy is I find really talented people that are A-players that cause I, one thing I’ve learned, the advantage that I have right now, the marketplace chat is that A-players no other A-players. So my recruitment game is strong because I already have really strong assets that I’ve pulled and recruited from other companies. And all those people that worked at those companies previously, they, they want to work for us because my recruitment strategy is you have the skillset you’ve proven that you’re, that you’re loyal and dedicated to this company. That’s great. But how would you like to make three times as much as you’re making right now and you get to work from home and you’re in your pajamas or in my case, my underwear, the boxers. Exactly. And then actually, usually they’re like, wow, that sounds too good to be true.
A little bit deeper into the call center stuff. Okay. Let’s just say as an example, cause I’ve, I’ve had a call center in the Philippines about 15 people, right? So I know, I know how the, the, the, the call center side of this whole thing works, right. Cost center reps are really hard to train and you also have to get people that have really good English in the Philippines or else, or else the calls are not as that, you just don’t get a better rate. You don’t get a good result at the end of the day, right? If you have somebody that’s, that’s, you know, scheduling appointments, which are what most companies will use the Philippines for, it’s either appointments, scheduling, customer service, things like that. Right. If the person on the other end of the phone doesn’t speak good English, then it’s, it’s going to be really difficult. Right? What do you do? Are you finding people that speak like perfect English? Are those the people that are on your list?
Well, I wouldn’t say they pur they speak perfect English, but that’s why I really like hiring from American tech companies because they usually have really strong training. They usually have, you know, I let them do all that hard part, you know, so that, by the time I hire them, they’ve already been at a company for years. They’ve usually, if they’re at the two year Mark at a company, I know how much they’re making. I know how much responsibilities are given. Usually they’re a higher tier within, you know, if they’ve been working for the same company and they’re still you know, an entry-level CSR customer service representative, that usually means that they’re not great. Right. Usually at the two year Mark they’ve, they’ve like, for example, Julio, he was a sales trainer. When I hired him, you know, of the people have some sort of a leadership role within a company. Like for example, when I, when I recruit people from Shopify, they’re already what are called gurus, they’re Shopify gurus. So these are people that if you, if you had a Shopify account, you could, you’d call them up and you’d get a hold of them and you’d tell them what’s wrong. And they would be able to troubleshoot and find out what’s wrong and help come up with solution. Gosh, not just reading from a script, right?
No, that’s conversational. Right? Because that’s, that’s a problem that I find in the Philippines sometimes is it’s easy to read off of a script. It’s really hard when you get the conversational style talking. Right.
Here’s the other thing, Chad B players are really good at making a resumes.
Very true to very true too. I’ll take that. What I’m going to ask it just for the hell of it, because let’s see if you can give us the answer. What if somebody in the Philippines cost you let’s say, if you go out and you recruit somebody in the Philippines, what’s the hourly cost usually for that and how many hours they work a week?
Well, my team works either. I only hire full-time. So if I’m selling you, if I’m helping you out with a part-time person, that means that they’re working part-time for you and part-time to someone else. And by the way, I tell my clients that all the time, I said, look, if one of you wants to go full time with this person, then that person’s going to be replaced because that’s what I’ve learned over the years. Chad, and hopefully anyone who listens to this can also learn from when somebody comes to you and they only want to work a part-time job. Usually that means you’re not going to be their priority.
So, so as far as the cost is a cost structure goes, you know, a typical call center employee. And it depends on the region. I mean, you can go to some regions in the Philippines that they barely make 10, 12,000 pesos a month, which is only like 250, $300. Now, if you go to Makati city, which is where I do a lot of my recruitment. If they work for some of the top call centers, they can be making 30, 40,000 a month, which is like a 750 to a thousand dollars a month. So what I do is, you know, I, like I said before, you know, I want a two to three time multiplier for them to leave what their current role is right now. And to come work for me. So if I’m charging you a 700 to $1,300 rate, that’s for like an entry-level position, you know, we can go from like, there’s people on my team that I paid thousands of dollars.
I have people on my team that I pay more than American people, right? It’s all about how much value they’re able to bring to the table. Like miles. She’s my project manager who oversees my executive assistant team. Her role is pivotal. She’s the most highest paid person on my team. She’s in the Philippines, right? She gets thousands of dollars. So it really depends on the value that they can bring to your business. Someone who is able to hire 50 people for me and train all 50 people in three months that person’s making me money. And thus, that’s why she gets paid the most
Peel the onion back really quick. You go out and I tell you, Jeff, I need five center reps. Okay. And I want them to be top of, you know, I want them to be a players. I want, you know, somewhat of perfect English speakers. We’ll call it right. I want people to speak good, conversational English. So they can, the other person on the other end of the phone can understand what they’re saying and have a full-blown conversation. And it’s not script related. Like you need to talk back and forth, right? So you need to, you need to have really good English. I want them to work 40 hours a week. Right. How long is it going to take you from the day that I tell you that to go actually recruit these people, train them. What does a training process look like on your end? Are you asking me like, Chad, well, let me see your scripts. Let me see, you know, are you, are you diving deep into my world and saying, well, what do you want them to do? What are they going to be doing on the calls? Like, what exactly, what does that look like for me?
So we have a very interesting strategy. That’s probably a lot different than most. And maybe because I’m a small operation, I’ve only a hundred people. But what we do is we actually look for someone who’s a great culture fit. That would be a single person that would go and learn your business first. Right? So our training process, we have a two week training process. All of our team gets HubSpot certified. They get, they go through active campaign certification. Cause CRMs are a really big deal. Going through understanding how to take meeting minutes and notes and how to, how to pull out important meeting minutes, you know, obviously understanding how to do appointments in outlook and stuff. So all of this is something that our team is trained to do over a two week process. And then we have a shadow period where they’re shadowing other people, other clients that are already doing similar things to what they want to do. Right. So once we have, those are people that we have on hand, like these are, we’re always recruiting, like basically every week, we’re recruiting more people because you know, the inquiries never stopped. Right? So
What, what is your, what is your, before we go further deep into that cycle, what is the recruiting process look like to where you just, I mean, cause we also recruit a lot in recruiting is for any of you guys listening or watching this recruiting is like the worst task on earth. Okay. It is one of the hardest things to do. It’s so hard to get good qualified people to actually go through the entire phase of the process with you. And then you have to weave out of like out of every hundred people, you might find like five, maybe good, good qualified people that meet your scope of what you’re trying to accomplish.
So a way that you can get over that process and, and have to deal with that. I mean, we still probably have a 50%, you know, turnover rate you know, from, well, I should say rejection rate because they don’t technically get in yet. Right. But the rejection rate is, I mean, 50% for those of you listening, like that’s super good. Like he just said, he’s like at five, 10%, right? Like you might get five or 10 out of every a hundred. The reason why we’re able to get 50 is because we own, we actually do active recruiting from our existing team. And this is why it’s so important guys, that you only hire a players. This is why it’s so important. You have to hire any players because what I’ve learned is that A-players no other A-players. So a lot of our team comes from other people on the team already. So
Hiring from within essentially. Yeah.
And you know what I love, I love people that they refer their colleagues. They’re like, yeah, you know what? So-And-So’s really good. And what’s cool is I have an incentive bonus on my side, a 90 day incentives. So if somebody is hired and they stay with us and they work out over a 90 day period, that I give a couple of hundred dollars bonus to the person who referred them. Right. So they’re incentivized to think about it. Right. and another thing that I’ve learned over the years is that you need to make sure that your training process and your hiring process is experiential. Okay. And this is something that actually my entrepreneur, by the time this airs, you’ll probably see, I have an entrepreneur article out entrepreneurial con talking about the advantages of having an experiential interviews and why people waste their time doing conventional interviews, get your interview set up so that they’re actually doing things that they would do on the job because you can test them right then and there to see if they have the capacity. Right. And the S and the grit. And I like to give people stuff that they can have to go and Google to figure out, you know,
I don’t want to make it too easy. I want to make sure that everybody, everybody here understands that. Okay. So some of the things I can example that we do, and this is, tell me if this is what you mean by experiential, right? Some of the things that we’ll do, like if we’re going out and we’re hiring a developer, we’ll go out, we’ll do like a 30 minute interview. And then we’ll give him like a take test where we give him a coding test where he goes home. And we give them like three days as an example to go out and complete this coding test and submit it back to us. Or one of our lead team developers will go and review the code to make sure this guy knows what he’s doing. Right. Are you talking about experiential like that? Are you talking about, like, if I’m a call center person, you’re going to do live cold calls with me, like right now, I want to hear your tonality.
I think both of those are great examples to be straight because they’re, they’re different skillsets. So the experience would be different for both. If you, if you were hiring a coder, you give them some code and say, here, I want you to figure this out. That would be the same as getting on a call center rep and saying, Hey, look, I want to do some live calls right now. I want you to listen in and they’d give me your feedback, right? Or, Hey, or you do a mock call. Like, Hey, look, here’s the product sheet. Here’s everything you need to know about this product. Like a one sheet. I’m going to give you a call and you can, you know, go through it. Or even before the interview say, here’s the product sheet on the, on the next interview call, I’m going to be doing some mock calls that I’m the customer and I want, and I’m going to call, I have a problem with my product. And I want you to answer it the best of your knowledge, based on this one sheet and give them some scripts or whatever, and then test them out. So that’s yeah. Experiential is just basically putting them to the test and seeing how they respond. Right? Because the last thing you’d want to do is hire somebody and let them test on your own customers.
That’s the last thing you want to do. Let’s go, let’s go back to it. So you go out, I tell you today, I need five call center reps, right? You’ll go out and you’ll do the whole interviewing process. How long does it take until I have five reps actually calling for me?
So here’s what we do. We usually start with one solid person who understands what you’re doing. Cause most companies that, you know, some companies will already have processes like I’ve got, you know, obviously, but that’s like 20% of the companies I work with already have like solid processes built in for executive assistants or virtual assistants built in now, Kathy care Bezos at QC access. It’s a, the sheet. She should be a guest on your show. If she’s really smart I’ll connect you with her. She owns three call centers. And one of them is in Chicago. I think she’s got another one in in Ohio or something. But if I’m wrong, Cathy listening to this. Sorry, but, but she’s a great example of someone who already had a process for like QA quality assurance. She already had a process for reporting before they hired us.
We just filled the gap in the role for that to, to help kind of move one of her American based team members to do more higher level overview. So the reporting is done by our team. So that’s done. So I would say that what you really want to think about it. So for what I do is I put one person in there who learns the business, who understands the process, who builds out the process with you. It goes and does it. And then once you have confidence and faith in that person and that they understand it, what’s beautiful is they’re able to actually train additional people that we bring on because see, the painful piece for most people is that you have to stop your business to train someone, right? So anything is difficult, right? So to eliminate that problem, I bring someone in, they understand your business, they go with you, they’re on zoom calls with you. They’re doing, they’re watching you do the work there. Then they’re doing the work. You’re watching them. And then once they’re good to go and they should be able to have enough knowledge to start treating an onboarding.
Yeah. Right. They’ll act as a team lead for the, for, for feature.
Yeah. That’s how we do it. We like to get an assigned team lead that really can, can grow with the company. And by the way, we’ve never spent any money on ads or our, or marketing. The only thing that we’ve ever done, you know, obviously sandwich marketer is my, is my podcast. And it’s kind of my top of the funnel type thing where I, I talk about strategies just like we’re doing right now. Right. Because people’s minds are like, Oh shoot. I didn’t even know you could do that. Right. And they’re like, Hey, can I, can you hook me up with a VA? That’s what most people do. Right. So that’s my strategy. I just, I share strategies and people be people
Organic, organic marketing, organic. Let me ask you another question. If, if you can give a one tip to a new business that’s starting out or even not even new to any business that’s starting out that is looking to outsource. Okay. or that’s looking to find a VA aside from VA staffer, which obviously if you guys need a VA, definitely go to Jeff, but I want some people have to learn how hard it is to do stuff before actually getting the taste of getting it the easier way. Right. And I know people are going to be on here. They’re going to go start going to Upwork. And you’d be like, this is a great idea. I’m gonna start. And then they’re going to end up to you regardless. Right. But if you were to tell somebody, you know, there are so many different companies, there’s Upwork, there’s the PA’s Philippines, PA some PHN. I forgot about that. There’s, there’s a ton of places where you can go online jobs yet. Uwhere would you tell somebody to go where, where would be like the first thing? What would the first thing that I do if I need, if I want to just hire him,
You know what? It wouldn’t even be where to go. It’s just about looking internally at your own business and saying, what are some of the easiest things that you could get off your plate? That is, it’s so important to have a quick win. Okay. So for me, and this is why, when I told you guys earlier about executive assistants and how the first thing I do when we train is meeting minutes and notes. And let me tell you something. If you want to know a fast way to get your business to the next level and make people think Holy crap, this guy has got his stuff together. When you have an executive assistant, come on a call with you, take meeting minutes, write down everything that was discussed, put action items who’s assigned to it, send that email like immediately after a call with next steps, people are like, matter of fact, the call before you, Chad was with a client that I probably wouldn’t have one, but the reason why I won it was because they were so impressed with the meeting minutes that we had from our last, our first call.
And they were like, this is exactly what we need. We’d love to have someone paired up with our CEO. But what I would say is look at how your business process is right now. What are some of the things that you’re doing day to day? Are you doing meeting minutes for your clients? Are you taking notes? Are you, you know, are, are you doing your social media content? Like what are things that you should be doing every day? And that you probably are, that you could just start putting a list together because the number one reason why people fail when they hire or outsource a virtual assistant or whatever is because they just don’t have a game plan. And they would just,
They want help. They don’t know, they don’t know what they’re going to help them with, but they just want to get somebody to help them. Right.
A lot of people think that they hire somebody and all their problems go away. Actually what happens is when you hire somebody, all your problems comes to the surface.
Yeah. Yeah. No, that makes sense. All right, let’s wrap it up. One final question. The what’s your favorite software tool that you use within your company?
Wow. You know, I have to say I, I love coming up with ideas for clients and as a marketer I’d have to say, I’m going to say to go for one, for the VA staffer side of the business, which is work snaps, I’m going to do a big shout out to the worst snaps people, because nobody knows about this company, but they have a very affordable software that does screen capture recording. A matter of fact, we just sadly miles, our project manager fired somebody last week because we found out they were using a clicker. If you don’t know what a clicker is, this is a tool that people use virtually that makes their keyboard and tight. Excuse my French. But it’s an unethical way to make people think that you’re busy, but it tracks it. It shows, it takes a snapshot of the active processes that are running.
So you know what people are actually doing and when they’re really working. So that’s, that’s number one. Number two is on the marketing side. I’ve been really loving se cockpit by Swiss made apps. It’s an SEO tool, really fun tool. It just helps. One of my clients come up with a really cool idea for a subscription sock business. He owns a SOC accustom sock making business. Right now we did research on it, found out that there were 30 1300 people searching for Sox subscription box every month and the domain was available. And now we’re making a whole new business for him called sock subscription box. So I love ideas and I love marketing simpleness,
Ladies and gentlemen, you heard it first. Jeff J. Hunter from VA staffer and Savage Marketer, the tick-tock King all the way from California. Go check out his Tik TOK. If you didn’t even have a chance to, you’ll see a nice video there with a couple million views when he might find 2 million views, nothing big. You might find his face familiar, but anyway, Jeff, thank you so much for coming out with us. And we look forward to having you on here in the near future.
Thank you, Chad. Have a good one.